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Morning musings

The Orioles agreed to a contract with Darren O’Day, pending a physical, and there seems to be mixed reaction to giving a non-closer a four-year, $31 million deal.

My opinion is that I’m OK with the O’Day deal –he’s been lights out and as high character a guy as you could ask for– as long as it doesn’t preclude the Orioles from spending money elsewhere.

Baltimore now has Matt Wieters, Mark Trumbo and O’Day on their payroll, but their biggest hole from last year was the rotation. They’ll have to add a starter to make up for the loss of Wei-Yin Chen and probably another arm, too, if they want to improve from last year and add some much-needed depth.

You’ve heard the names they’re looking at on the free agent market –guys like Scott Kamir, Yovani Gallardo, Doug Fister– but executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette also has been active in trade talks. With the pitching market moving so quickly, its opened up some trade options among other teams who have expendable pieces after acquiring a free agent starter. It’s another avenue to get a guy and perhaps, keep the payroll in check in the process.

Asked if he felt it was tough to get starting pitchers to come to Baltimore, Duquette said he thinks a lot of pitchers look to the National League first.

“It’s a league where you get to face the pitcher. Some of the ballparks are pitcher friendly. You don’t have to face the DH,” Duquette said. “Having said that, I think the pitchers enjoy, they recognize the value of pitching to a good defense, which the Orioles have had over the last several years.”

*I keep getting asked if Chris Davis is a priority and, yes, the team remains interested. The pitching market is moving quickly and it’s where most of their time was funneled into for Day 1. The Davis market has been unusually quiet, which perhaps speaks volumes to his mysterious market. With agent Scott Boras, you would think he’d want offers and other teams involved to leak out, hoping to perhaps start a bidding war. But there’s really been nothing, causing not just the Orioles but a lot of baseball people to wonder.

Davis is being marketed as a first baseman and an outfielder to increase his suitors. Twice yesterday I had two different scouts bring up how impressive he was to watch in right field last year. He can hold his own defensively.  But who is willing to invest in him long-term, besides the Orioles? Stay tuned.

A few notes..

A pretty quiet day for the Orioles so far this morning on the rumor front, but here are a few other notes…

*For the fourth consecutive year, Major League Baseball, MLB Advanced Media, MLB Network and the 30 teams are having a online charity auction to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

A significant portion of the proceeds will go to Stand Up To Cancer, a longtime partner of Major League Baseball, its founding donor in 2008.  In addition, this year’s auction will benefit Do It For Durrett, in honor of the late Texas Rangers beatwriter Richard Durrett, who passed away suddenly last year, and theYouCaring page established for Miami Marlins Sun Sentinel beatwriter Juan C. Rodriguez, who is currently battling a brain tumor.

The auction is live on until Thursday, December 10th at 9:00 p.m. (ET) and features three different Orioles experiences. You can bid and see the full list here: .

*Orioles pitching prospect Tanner Scott, of the Peoria Javelinas, has been named to the Arizona Fall League’s top prospect list.

*Commissioner Rob Manfred is here to announce the appointment of a new Senior Advisor to the Commissioner on Youth Programs and Outreach, which will be Cal Ripken, Jr. I’ll have more on that on later this afternoon.

O’Day update, Duq on the meetings

NASHVILLE— Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Sunday night there’s “more work to be done” until an official agreement is reached with right-hander Darren O’Day.
While Duquette, speaking to reporters assembled for the Winter Meetings, was coy on details and didn’t offer a timeline there still is a lot of optimism in the organization that a deal will ultimately be done.
The two sides— who are believed to be hammering out details of a four-year, $31 million pact that leaked Sunday morning— have been in talks most of the offseason with the Nationals and Orioles the two most logical landing spots.  Any agreement in place will require O’Day to undergo a full physical.
Baltimore’s projected payroll with O’Day would be more than $100 million as the O’s try to fill out their rotation and remain interested in free-agent slugger Chris Davis.
Duquette also said on Sunday that the team is hoping to add a left-handed hitter to fill one of their outfield spots and a starter. The preference on a starter would be lefty as well, since the Os lost their lone southpaw starter in Wei-Yin Chen.

O’s, O’Day agree to a four-year deal

The Orioles have agreed to a four-year deal with Darren O’Day, has confirmed, keeping the most sought-after reliever in Baltimore through 2019.

The 33-year-old O’Day, whose deal was first reported by, posted a 1.52 ERA in 68 appearances last year. His contract is worth $31 million, though the club has not confirmed the deal or the financial aspects of it.

O’Day’s staying is a solid sign for Orioles fans about the team’s pivotal offseason. The righty was the team leader in the ‘pen and many teammates –including most recently, Adam Jones, — had publicly voiced the need to retain him.

O’Day made $4.25 million in 2015 and made it clear he and his wife –FOX News reporter Elizabeth Prann– liked the area. In the end, it was no surprise it came down to the team Beltway teams in Baltimore and D.C. O’Day has a 2.31 career ERA in 459 relief appearances over eight years for the Angels, Mets, Rangers and Orioles.

Baltimore’s  projected payroll is now more than $100 million as the O’s try to fill out their rotation and remain interested in pricey slugger Chris Davis.

Os non-tender Janish, Lough and Johnson

The Orioles tendered contracts to 10 of 13 arbitration-eligible players, choosing to non-tender infielder Paul Janish, outfielder David Lough, right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson. Those three will now become free agents.

The O’s tendered contracts to infielders Ryan Flaherty and Manny Machado and Mark Trumbo, pitchers Brad Brach, Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, Miguel Gonzalez and Brian Matusz. They also agreed to terms on contracts for 2016 with Nolan Reimold and Vance Worley, avoiding arbitration with both players.

Worley, 28, went 4-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 23 games (eight starts) with Pittsburgh. He was claimed off waivers by the Orioles from the Pirates on October 20. Reimold hit .247/.344/.394 with six home runs and 20 RBI in 61 games.

The Orioles will try to work out a deal with each player that they’ve tendered a contract to in an attempt to avoid an often contentious arbitration hearing. Many of their arbitration players, such as Machado and Britton, are coming off career years and in line for a substantial raise.

Janish, who was designated for assignment earlier in the day, hit .286/.278/.371 with three doubles, three RBI, and four runs scored in 14 games for the Orioles last season. Johnson, who was DFA’ed to create a roster spot for Trumbo, posted a 10.13 ERA in six relief outings. The 29-year-old Lough batted .201/.241/.313 with four home runs and 12 RBI in 84 games.

Os get Pena to add to catching depth

The Orioles acquired Francisco Pena from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for cash considerations, the club announced Wednesday night.

Pena, a 26-year old catcher, hit .251 with 13 homers in 95 games with Triple-A Omaha last season.

“Pena is a solid addition to our roster,” Orioles general Manager Dan Duquette said. “He gives us catching depth and should help our club in 2016.”

To make room for Pena on the 40-man roster, the Orioles designated infielder Paul Janish for assignment.

Duquette and Trumbo on the trade

Mark Trumbo has always had a lot of respect for the Orioles from the opposing dugout, lauding several times during Wednesday’s conference call the team’s gritty play and the job of manager Buck Showalter. Now, Trumbo will get an up-close look.

Baltimore officially announced the the trade for the first baseman/designated hitter from Seattle in exchange for catcher Steve Clevenger, a deal that also brings left-handed reliever C.J. Riefenhauser to Baltimore.

“I’ve always thought very highly of the way the Orioles compete on both sides of the ball, especially being a hitter I’ve always admired the at-bats the guys have been able to put together,” Trumbo said. “I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”

But can Trumbo —who is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to make $9.1 million in arbitration — share the roster with free agents Chris Davis and Steve Pearce? Before the trade, the Orioles already had committed around $93 million to next year’s roster, including projected arbitration rates, and they will now take on more than $8 million more given Clevenger’s modest salary.

“This isn’t the last move the club is going to make to put our team together for 2016,” said executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, who has said made it clear several times that the team is interested in bringing back Davis. “I can’t tell you who we are going to sign in the future, but the addition of a proven Major League hitter like Mark Trumbo today lengthens our lineup and gives us another hitter in the lineup who can hit both left and right-handed pitching. And, in Mark’s case, [he] can hit the ball out of the ballpark.”

Duquette said he thinks Trumbo will be helped in particular by the centerfield fence at the hitter-friendly Camden Yards. After a rough first month with Seattle, Trumbo batted .302/.358/.490 with 12 homers and 36 RBIs in his final 74 games. Defensively, Trumbo could see time at first base, even if the O’s do sign Davis — who can play right field — and also serve as designated hitter. Trumbo isn’t regarded as a strong defensive player, but if he can regain his power stroke from 2011-13, when he averaged more than 30 homers a season, it will give Baltimore a nice boost.

“Mark can play the outfield, he can also play first base, he’s not unfamiliar with playing DH,” Duquette said. “Just looking at his defensive capability it looks to me like his best position is first base, but he can play both of them.”

Trumbo said he has no problem at all with DH and noted that he’s most comfortable with first base because he’s spent the most time there. With the early December move, he’ll also have plenty of time to get comfortable with his new team.

“I would like to say it gets easier, but time will only really tell,” Trumbo said of being traded for the third time in his career. “Each time it happens to you, you got to have a few learning experiences and gather a little more information.

Fortunately I’ll have all Spring Training to get to know these guys, get to know the system…this is a scenario where I’ll have more than enough time to get acclimated to get into a rhythm. And once the season starts, I’ll be ready to go.”

Riefenhauser — the last piece of the deal agreed upon Wednesday — was acquired by Seattle as part of a six-player swap with the Rays last month and had a 6.30 ERA in 24 relief appearances with Tampa Bay over the previous two years.

“He’s a good left-handed relief prospect, he’s put up some really good numbers at Triple-A the last two years, had a little bit of an injury this year,” Duquette said. “He’s got an opportunity to help the club in 2016. [He’s] got a good mix of three pitches and we think he’ll be a helpful pitcher for us this year.”

The 29-year-old Clevenger has four years of team control remaining and is not arbitration-eligible, though he is out of Minor League options. The Baltimore native hit .287 with two home runs and 15 RBIs in 101 at-bats in 30 Major League games last season, as well as .305 with a .375 on-base percentage in 75 games for Triple-A Norfolk.

To make room on the 40-man roster, right-hander Steve Johnson has been designated for assignment.

FanFest vouchers to go on sale Saturday

Per a team release…

Vouchers for autograph sessions at Orioles FanFest will go on sale Saturday, December 5, at 10:00 a.m. ET. The list of autograph session times and participants will be posted online for preview at by 9:00 p.m. on Friday, December 4. Orioles FanFest will be held on Saturday, December 12, at the Baltimore Convention Center from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with early entry for Orioles Season Plan Members beginning at 10:00 a.m. as part of the Orange Carpet Program.

At this year’s FanFest, the Orioles will continue an autograph policy designed to support youth charitable endeavors through OriolesREACH and enhance fan engagement with shorter wait times. Children ages 4-14 will have a specially-designated Kids Only player autograph station presented by ESSKAY that is free of charge which will operate continuously throughout the day. All other ESSKAY autograph stations at FanFest will require the advance purchase of autograph vouchers exclusively at for $20 each, with all of the proceeds benefitting children’s charities through OriolesREACH. Since instituting the autograph policy in 2011, FanFest has raised nearly $600,000 for the Orioles Charitable Foundation.

There will be 250 vouchers available for each ESSKAY autograph session, guaranteeing that every fan purchasing a voucher for a particular session will receive an autograph from each of the players at the station. The Orioles will make every effort to keep to this autograph schedule, but reserve the right to change or substitute individuals as necessary. Fans will be able to print their vouchers at home and must present them to the attendant at the appropriate autograph session, shortening the amount of wait time in autograph lines. Fans must be in line for their autograph session no later than 30 minutes after the session begins. Autograph vouchers are not eligible for refunds or exchanges. 

If vouchers are still available on the day of the event, they will be available for purchase at the Ticket Sales location at FanFest. Autograph seekers are encouraged to purchase vouchers in advance. There is a purchase limit of two autograph vouchers per person, per session time. Fans redeeming autograph vouchers must be four years of age or older and may only redeem one voucher per person, per session time. 

The complimentary Kids Only area at FanFest will operate throughout the day in a free-flowing system. Players signing in this area will not be announced in advance. Youth ages 4-14 may go through this line as many times as they would like as players rotate through the station.

Season Plan Members can enter FanFest beginning at 10:00 a.m., and the first 250 in attendance will receive a voucher to participate in a complimentary autograph session beginning at 10:00 a.m. 

Every fan must also purchase a ticket to enter FanFest. Tickets are available online at, via phone at 1-888-848-BIRD, at the Oriole Park Box Office, and at the Official Team Store at the York Galleria in York, PA. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 14 and under and adults 60 and over. On the day of the event, FanFest tickets will be sold at the Convention Center and the Oriole Park Box Office. Season Plan Members have received complimentary tickets via email.

Os trade for Trumbo

The Orioles have traded for Mark Trumbo, pending medicals, a move that involves sending catcher Steve Clevenger to the Mariners. Another player could be potentially headed to Baltimore, has learned. The agreement has not been made official by either team.

Orioles in serious talks in Trumbo trade, reportedly involving Clevenger

The Orioles and Mariners were in serious trade talks on Tuesday, as multiple sources confirmed to, that Baltimore was making a strong push to acquire outfielder/first baseman Mark Trumbo before Wednesday’s non-tender deadline. The deal reportedly would involve catcher Steve Clevenger, though nothing was official as both sides continued to negotiate Tuesday night.

Trumbo was on the O’s radar in 2012 and he would be a nice upgrade in Baltimore’s outfield alongside All-Star centerfielder Adam Jones. The acquisition could also change the O’s pursuit of first baseman/outfielder Chris Davis, considered one of the top free agents this winter.

While it’s been fairly clear in the days leading up to the deadline that the Mariners wish to move Trumbo —they nearly dealt him to the Rockies on Monday— some in the Orioles organization were still confident the outfielder would not be non-tendered. Trumbo is projected to make nearly $9 million in 2016.

Baltimore native Clevenger is not arbitration eligible and would make much less than that, a potential holdup that could cause both sides to re-evaluate the structure of a deal. Should it get done, it would make sense from the Orioles end as Clevenger —with Matt Wieters accepting a qualifying offer— was third on the team’s depth chart behind Caleb Joseph. was the first to report the O’s interest in Trumbo, while the Tacoma News Tribune was the first to involve Clevenger.


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